KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 — Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said today he is baffled by the dissatisfaction from Sarawak government officials with their share of federal funds under Budget 2020.
He noted their description of yesterday’s Budget announcement as “Malaya centric” despite the near 100 per cent increase in federal allocation by Pakatan Harapan (PH) compared to what the Barisan Nasional (BN) set aside for the hornbill state.
The federal minister also pointed out that Sarawak received the second highest amount for state development expenses after Sabah, at RM4.4 billion.
“If they can be satisfied under the old government even when they got less, why are they dissatisfied with what they receive now? This, I can’t understand,” he told a press conference in Parliament here.
In Budget 2020, PH doubled the special grant from RM16 million to RM32 million per year, with plans to increase the figure to RM64 million in five years.
The record special allocation was made under Article 112(D) of the Federal Constitution, which has not been reviewed since 1969, even when the BN was in power.
Malaysia’s largest state is currently held by a coalition of four local parties calling itself Gabungan Parti Sarawak: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu, Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak and Progressive Democratic Party.
Yesterday, SUPP president Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian called the allocation for Sarawak unfair, saying the state needs more funds to enjoy a better grade of infrastructure services and facilities.